Author: Carrie Jones
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 12-23-08
Zara White suspects there’s a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She’s also obsessed with phobias. And it’s true, she hasn’t exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane…but Zara’s pretty sure her mom just can’t deal with her right now.She couldn’t be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara’s overactive imagination. In fact, he’s still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There’s something not right – not human – in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara. – Goodreads
Zara has been relocated against her will to rural Maine to live with her grandmother and try to recover from the death of her step-father. One thing you learn about Zara is that she has the quirky habit of memorizing phobias and reciting them to herself when she gets stressed out or nervous. I thought that was an interesting characteristic and, let’s face it, it’s kind of fun to find out all of the different phobias a person could have. Of course, you get the feeling right away that things aren’t quite right in this tiny town, but it takes a while to figure out exactly what that is. In the mean time, Carrie Jones does a good job of setting the scene and making you feel the cold that surrounds everyone during the harsh Maine winters. Two boys, Nick and Ian, immediately start vying for her attention, but fear not! This is no love triangle, I assure you. Nothing is as it seems in this town, least of all the boys.
One thing I will say about this book is that there is a slow revealing of what exactly is going on. It’s not the type of story where you figure out who is what during the first chapter. That gradual method of story telling helped keep the suspense high for much of the book and there are some very creepy scenes that take place deep in the snowy forest. There were parts that were a little draggy and Zara does a lot of waiting in the house by herself, but overall I would say that this was very entertaining and different from a lot of the books I’ve read that focus on this genre of folklore. It was a strong start to a series that I look forward to reading.